Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and C (PPNC)

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB):

Nevalı Çori

‘Ain Ghazal

Hamoukar

Amuq

Munhatta

Andre steder inkluderer:

Yiftahel (vestlie Galilee), Abu Hureyra (øvre Eufrat) og Neba’a Faour

Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC):

Yarmukian

Megiddo

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and C (PPNC)

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and C (PPNC)

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region. The period is dated to between ca. 10700 and ca. 8000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.

Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period. One of its major elements is the naviform core.

This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal. Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone.

It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. Indeed, the earliest proto-pottery was White Ware Vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley). Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates).

Danielle Stordeur’s recent work at Tell Aswad, a large agricultural village between Mount Hermon and Damascus could not validate Henri de Contenson’s earlier suggestion of a PPNA Aswadian culture. Instead, they found evidence of a fully established PPNB culture at 8700 BC at Aswad, pushing back the period’s generally accepted start date by 1200 years.

How a PPNB culture could spring up in this location, practicing domesticated farming from 8700 BC has been the subject of speculation. Whether it created its own culture or imported traditions from the North East or Southern Levant has been considered an important question for a site that poses a problem for the scientific community.

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC)

In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) period which lasted between 8200 and 7900 BP.

Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6,200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt.

Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into Southern Iraq.

The Yarmukian Culture is a Neolithic culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in Prehistoric Israel and one of the oldest in the Levant to make use of pottery. The Yarmukian derives its name from the Yarmouk River which flows near its type site at Sha’ar HaGolan, a kibbutz at the foot of the Golan Heights.

Besides the site at Sha’ar HaGolan, 20 other Yarmukian sites have been identified in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. These include:

  • Tel Megiddo (Israel)
  • Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
  • Munhata (Israel)
  • Tel Qishion (Israel)
  • Hamadiya (Israel)
  • Ain Rahub (Jordan)
  • Abu Tawwab (Jordan)

Although the Yarmukian culture occupied limited regions of northern Israel and northern Jordan, Yarmukian pottery has been found elsewhere in the region, including the Habashan Street excavations in Tel-Aviv and as far north as Byblos, Lebanon.

Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 3800–c. 3350 BC). Considered to correspond to the Halafian culture of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.

The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of mixed farming peoples, and migrated southwards from Syria into Israel. Houses were trapezoid-shaped and built mud-brick, covered with remarkable polychrome wall paintings. Their pottery was highly elaborate, including footed bowls and horn-shaped drinking goblets, indicating the cultivation of wine. Several samples display the use of sculptural decoration or of a reserved slip (a clay and water coating partially wiped away while still wet). The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper.

Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens.

Ghassulian culture has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba. The Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the Amratian of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.

Ghassulian culture replaced the Minhata and Yarmukian culture, and seems to have developed in part from a fusion of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in the Amuq Valley, with Minhata and nomadic pastoralists of the circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex. It was associated with the Older Peron, which began in the 5000 BCE to 4900 BCE era, and lasted to about 4100 BCE, a period of generally clement and balmy weather conditions that favored plant growth.

The Ghassulian phase seems to have been formative for the Canaanite civilization – in which a chalcolithic structure pioneered a Mediterranean mixed economy, involving the intensive subsistence production of horticultural fruit and vegetables, extensive farming of grains and cereals, transhumance and nomadic pastoral systems of animal husbandry, and commercial production (as in Crete) of wine and olives.

Pre-history of the Southern Levant

History of pottery in the Southern Levant

Syro-Palestinian archaeology

Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi

Proto-Semitic homeland

 Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)

Nevalı Çori:

Nevalı Çori

Nevalı Çori was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in the province of Şanlıurfa (Urfa), eastern Turkey. The site is famous for having revealed some of the world’s most ancient known temples and monumental sculpture. Together with the site of Göbekli Tepe, it has revolutionised scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic.

A stone head discovered at the Neolithic site of Nevalı Çori in Anatolia features what some have interpreted as an early example of a śikhā, perhaps the mark of a priest or shaman. The local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures, including a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft.

The sikha or shikha is a Sanskrit word that refers to a long tuft, or lock of hair left on top or on the back of the shaven head of a male Hindu. Though traditionally all Hindus were required to wear a śikhā, today it is seen mainly among traditional believers like vedic students and scholars, priests, devotional musicians, religious leaders, saints and many traditional families mostly from the brahmin community.

‘Ain Ghazal (7250-5000 f.vt.)

‘Ain Ghazal

‘Ain Ghazal is a Neolithic site located in North-Western Jordan, on the outskirts of Amman. It dates as far back as 7250 BC, and was inhabited until 5000 BC. At 15 hectares (37 ac), ‘Ain Ghazal ranks as one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East.

Hamoukar:

Hamoukar

Hamoukar is a large archaeological site located in the Jazira region of northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border (Al Hasakah Governorate) and Turkey.

The discovery at Hamoukar indicates that some of the fundamental ideas behind cities – including specialization of labor, a system of laws and government, and artistic development – may have begun earlier than was previously believed.

The fact that this discovery is such a large city is what is most exciting to archaeologists. While they have found small villages and individual pieces that date much farther back than Hamoukar, nothing can quite compare to the discovery of this size and magnitude.

This archaeological discovery suggests that civilizations advanced enough to reach the size and organizational structure that was necessary to be considered a city could have actually emerged before the advent of a written language. Previously it was believed that a system of written language was a necessary predecessor of that type of complex city.

The Excavations have shown that this site houses the remains of one of the world’s oldest known cities, leading scholars to believe that cities in this part of the world emerged much earlier than previously thought.

Traditionally, the origins of urban developments in this part of the world have been sought in the riverine societies of southern Mesopotamia (in what is now southern Iraq). This is the area of ancient Sumer, where around 4000 BC many of the famous Mesopotamian cities such as Ur and Uruk emerged, giving this region the attributes of “Cradle of Civilization” and “Heartland of Cities.” Following the discoveries at Hamoukar, this definition may have to extended further up the Tigris River to include that part of northern Syria where Hamoukar is located.

Most importantly, archaeologists believe this apparent city was thriving as far back as 4000 BC and independently from Sumer. Until now, the oldest cities with developed seals and writing were thought to be Sumerian Uruk and Ubaid in Mesopotamia, which would be in the southern one-third of Iraq today.

Excavation work undertaken in 2005 and 2006 has shown that this city was destroyed by warfare by around 3500 BC – probably the earliest urban warfare attested so far in the archaeological record of the Near East.

Sling bullets

Archaeologist finds traces of ‘humanity’s first war’ in Syria

https://i2.wp.com/www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/photos/hamoukar/hamoukar10.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/photos/hamoukar/hamoukar08.jpg

Amuq:

The Amuk, Amuq or Amouq (or Amik) valley is located in the southern part of Turkey, in the Hatay Province, close to the city of Antakya (Antioch on the Orontes). It is notable for a series of archaeological sites in the “plain of Antioch”.

Munhata:

Munhata

Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC):

Yarmukian – Sha’ar HaGolan (6400–6000 f.vt.):

Yarmukian Culture

The Yarmukian Culture is a Neolithic culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in Prehistoric Israel and one of the oldest in the Levant to make use of pottery. The Yarmukian derives its name from the Yarmouk River which flows near its type site at Sha’ar HaGolan, a kibbutz at the foot of the Golan Heights.

The first Yarmukian settlement was unearthed at Megiddo during the 1930s, but was not identified as a distinct Neolithic culture at the time. At Sha’ar HaGolan, in 1949, Prof. Moshe Stekelis first identified the Yarmukian Culture, a Pottery Neolithic culture that inhabited parts of Israel and Jordan. The site, dated to ca. 6400–6000 BC (calibrated), is located in the central Jordan Valley, on the northern bank of the Yarmouk River. Its size is circa 20 hectares, making it one of the largest settlements in the world at that time. Although other Yarmukian sites have been identified since, Sha’ar HaGolan is the largest, probably indicating its role as the Yarmukian center.

The greatest technological innovation of the Sha’ar HaGolan Neolithic was the manufacture of pottery. This industry, which appears here for the first time in Israel, gives this cultural stage its name of Pottery Neolithic. The pottery vessels are in a variety of shapes and sizes and were put to various domestic uses.

 

Megiddo (7000-586 f.vt.):

Tel Megiddo

Megiddo (Hebrew: Tell al-Mutesellim) is a tell in modern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30km south-east of Haifa, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon.

In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state. Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement. Megiddo is strategically located at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the west. Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria.

Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles. The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC to 586 BC (the same time as the destruction of the First Israelite Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and subsequent fall of Israelite rule and exile). Since this time it has remained uninhabited, preserving ruins pre-dating 586 BC without settlements ever disturbing them. Instead, the town of Lajjun (not to be confused with the el-Lajjun archaeological site in Jordan) was built up near to the site, but without inhabiting or disturbing its remains.

 

File:Megido City Gate1.jpg

File:Tell Megiddo Preservation 2009 037.JPG

Figurer fra Megiddo (Modern Israel) Stratum VII Late Bronze II (1400-1200 BCE):

File:Model of Megiddo, 1457 BCE..jpg

Female figurine Megiddo (Modern Israel) Stratum IX Late Bronze I (1550-1400 BCE) Faience

Figurine of the Canaanite God El from Megiddo (Modern Israel) Stratum VII Late Bronze II (1400-1200 BCE)

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